At the beginning - and unofficially - the Sienese race was run first with bulls and later with buffalos. The "bufalata" was organized for large family parties, papal elections and when Grand Dukes would visit the city. Then, on July 14, 1644, the Goose (Oca) contrada won with Destrampo riding the horse Ottorino di Grosseto, competing against six other neighbourhoods, and the rest was history. Still today, twice a year, the city’s 17 contrade - based on the borders established in 1729 - race to win the Palio, a grandiose strip of cloth painted by both Italian and foreign artists. The Palio depicts the Virgin Mary, protector of Siena and whose cloak, legend says, is piazza del Campo, where the race is run.